Volume 11, Number 10
23 November 2004

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This Week

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We can't get rid of this idea: We need to control everything. We love to feel that we're holding the strings attached to the things in our lives. Admit it: We all want to be the puppeteers of our worlds.

An important kind of control has recently reached an extreme point: our obsession with controlling time. Humankind hates to see anything happening outside its control. Our ancestors were afraid of losing their food because they didn't control the sources. So, they took care of this problem. But things didn't end at that point.

We adore those jeans that look old because they're produced to look old. This is true even though we lose our love of old-looking things when we see a real pair of old jeans. We pay high prices for non-convincing imitations of old boots. What makes these imitations more valuable than the originals is that the process of imitation is a glorification of our control over time. In fact, it's a funny way of denying our fear of time. We're just trying to prove that we can control things as strongly as time does. We're trying to show that we can have old-looking furniture, clothes, books, movies, etc. without time's help, if we want.

We humans love being irreplaceable. In addition, we love to replace nature with the things we create. In this case, we're trying to replace time by imitating its effect. Our situation is very similar to that of an artist who paints a fake Mona Lisa in order to show that he/she is as good as Da Vinci. But this fake production is senseless and has none of the meaning the original has. In fact, it conveys no meaning at all except the obvious ridiculousness of its creator.

That's what a standard human being has become: an imitator of nature and of time. In order to make himself/herself believe that he/she is as powerful as time, billions of "he"s and "she"s have created modern technology and modern fashion, which produce old-looking new products.

As the so-called controllers of our own lives, we should think carefully about this question: will we be satisfied when there are no more surprises left? Or are we going to "turn into some machine," as Bob Dylan put it? Maybe we deserve it... And I'm afraid that maybe we even secretly desire it.

İsmail O. Postalcıoğlu (POLS/II)


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